Resampling of hard-hit region suggests amphibians may be developing resistance to deadly fungus

March 29, 2018

As amphibian populations globally continue to be ravaged by chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by a deadly fungal pathogen, a new study suggests that some populations in Panama may have started becoming more resistant to the fungus about a decade after it began significantly impacting them. The results shed light on how species may recover from epidemics. More than a decade ago, a deadly fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, drove amphibian population declines worldwide. These declines were well-studied in three sites in Panama, offering Jamie Voyles and colleagues an opportunity to conduct follow-up, post-epidemic analyses at these sites. The researchers resampled them. They report that nine of 12 species that were driven to critically low numbers have since recovered. More than 2,000 diagnostic samples (swabs of the amphibians' skin) reveal that the prevalence of B. dendrobatidis has decreased since the epidemics occurred. The researchers explored whether the fungus has become less pathogenic since the initial epidemics by comparing historic and contemporary strains of the fungus. They found that the modern strains of B. dendrobatidis do not grow at a different rate, nor do they affect immune cells from amphibians in a significantly different way than the earlier strains. Genetically, the historic and modern strains remain similar, too. Lastly, naïve frogs that were captured before the initial epidemic and raised in captivity were more susceptible to the fungus than their wild counterparts, the authors found. Therefore, they suggest that remaining amphibian populations in the area developed resistance to B. dendrobatidis. James P. Collins highlights this study in a related Perspective.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Fungus Articles from Brightsurf:

International screening of the effects of a pathogenic fungus
The pathogenic fungus Candida auris, which first surfaced in 2009, is proving challenging to control.

Research breakthrough in fight against chytrid fungus
For frogs dying of the invasive chytridiomycosis disease, the leading cause of amphibian deaths worldwide, the genes responsible for protecting them may actually be leading to their demise, according to a new study published today in the journal Molecular Ecology by University of Central Florida and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) researchers.

Researchers look to fungus to shed light on cancer
A team of Florida State University researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry found that a natural product from the fungus Fusicoccum amygdali stabilizes a family of proteins in the cell that mediate important signaling pathways involved in the pathology of cancer and neurological diseases.

The invisibility cloak of a fungus
The human immune system can easily recognize fungi because their cells are surrounded by a solid cell wall of chitin and other complex sugars.

Taming the wild cheese fungus
The flavors of fermented foods are heavily shaped by the fungi that grow on them, but the evolutionary origins of those fungi aren't well understood.

Candida auris is a new drug-resistant fungus emerging globally and in the US early detection is key to controlling spread of deadly drug-resistant fungus
Early identification of Candida auris, a potentially deadly fungus that causes bloodstream and intra-abdominal infections, is the key to controlling its spread.

Genetic blueprint for extraordinary wood-munching fungus
The first time someone took note of Coniochaeta pulveracea was more than two hundred years ago, when the South African-born mycologist Dr Christiaan Hendrik Persoon mentioned it in his 1797 book on the classification of fungi.

How a fungus can cripple the immune system
An international research team led by Professor Oliver Werz of Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, has now discovered how the fungus knocks out the immune defenses, enabling a potentially fatal fungal infection to develop.

North American checklist identifies the fungus among us
Some fungi are smelly and coated in mucus. Others have gills that glow in the dark.

Tropical frogs found to coexist with deadly fungus
In 2004, the frogs of El Copé, Panama, began dying by the thousands.

Read More: Fungus News and Fungus Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to